The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in object sensing radars is driven by improved safety in autonomous vehicles, accuracy, efficiency, and versatility in object detection and ranging technologies, and growing importance of technologies such as frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar, pulse-doppler radar, phased array radar, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in automotive: object sensing radars. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the automotive industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among the maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the automotive industry

Object sensing radars is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Object sensing radars refer to radar systems and methods that are used to sense the environment and detect objects. These radars utilize various techniques such as side-looking radar, 3D mapping, object recognition, obstacle avoidance, cooperative radar, and target detection. They enable vehicles to gather data about their surroundings, analyze it, and make informed decisions based on the detected objects. Object sensing radars play a crucial role in the development of autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30 companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of object sensing radars.

Key players in object sensing radars – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to object sensing radars

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 173 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 42 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 36 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 120 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 428 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 23 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 19 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 23 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 20 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 105 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 31 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 14 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 84 Unlock Company Profile 213 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 28 Unlock Company Profile
LG 36 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 24 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 24 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 16 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 105 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 20 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 27 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
Proxy Technologies 40 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 35 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 24 Unlock Company Profile
Metawave 37 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing TuSimple Future Technology 18 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 43 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 38 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alphabet is one of the leading patent filers in object sensing radars. The company has integrated various sensor technologies, including light detection and ranging (LiDAR), radars, cameras, and other sensors, for comprehensive object detection and perception. While LiDAR is often highlighted, their radar technology innovations include advancements in radar sensor design, processing, and fusion with other sensor data for a holistic perception system. Alphabet has made innovations in multi-sensor fusion techniques, combining data from different types of sensors to improve the accuracy and reliability of object detection, classification, and tracking. Th fusion helps in creating a more comprehensive understanding of the vehicle's surroundings. Some other key patent filers in this space include Amazon and Huawei Investment.

In terms of application diversity, Proxy Technologies leads the pack, while Honda Motor and LG stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Proxy Technologies held the top position, followed by Nio and Alphabet.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Automotive.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.